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Opinion: An ounce of prevention against bullying doctors

The Boston Globe, May 12, 2011

Theresa Brown's recent posting in the New York Times Well blog about doctors who bully nurses generated a stir, especially among doctors defending their honor. As a medical student, I've witnessed and experienced my share of bullying by a handful of doctors (though to be fair, by nurses as well). In one instance, I watched a surgeon mock a new nurse in the operating room, teaching her with absurd faux-patience how to properly hand him his instruments. As Brown notes, even subtle condescension and rare altercations impact patient safety. She suggests top-down attitude adjustments and civility training for physician offenders. But doctors' attitudes are formed, and so should be influenced, before hierarchies are fully ingrained -- in medical school.